Wild Beauty

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 03 Oct 2017

Member Reviews

Lush lyrical and surreal. The descriptive language flows well. Will be recommending to customers.
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Anna-Marie McLemore straight up writes some of the most beautiful stories I've ever read. I don't read a lot of magical realism--but I always have to pick up her new novels. Her storytelling and descriptive language is so lush and lovely--the cover matches the essence perfectly. 

Thank you so much for the opportunity to read.
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The kind of book you have to experience for yourself. The writing was beautiful and holy crap the bisexual rep is just fantastic. I'm definitely looking into trying other books by this author now.
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"Even in its first faint traces, love could alter a landscape. It wrote unimagined stories and made the most beautiful, forbidding places. Love grew such strange things."

Nothing I say can do this novel justice. This was (surprisingly) my first Anna-Marie McLemore novel despite the fact that I own her first two books (oops) and it goes without saying that she's made her mark on my list of auto-buy authors. I'm absolutely in love with WILD BEAUTY; you absolutely cannot miss this one.

WILD BEAUTY follows the Nomeolvides women, who have magical abilities to grow flowers from their hands. God, each of these women were so amazing, and the bisexual representation was unbelievable. I fall more and more in love with these ladies every time I think of them. Then, Fel appears in the gardens with no memory of who he is at all and Nomeolvides women discover the truth about their estate and estate.

This novel twists an element of mystery from the Briars and the Nomeolvides garden into the plot, which surprised me, but I can't complain at all. There's just the way that McLemore weaves such prominent visual imagery into every word she writes that makes this whole novel feel so magical.

This book is filled with love and gardens, magic and flowers. There's kissing and mysteries, and bisexual girls and beautiful familial bonds. My bi ass is completely enamored with this enchanting novel, and I cannot wait for all of you to read this. Anna-Marie McLemore's words are worthy of my tears, and I'm completely swept off my feet. You absolutely need to read this enchanting, magical realism book.

Huge thanks to Fierce Reads for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. Quotes in the ARC are subject to change in the final copy.
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If I had to rank the three books she has written so far this would be my least favorite (When the Moon Was Ours #1 with a bullet, Weight of Feathers close 2nd). 

Her writing is lyrical, and I have so many sentences bookmarked because they are gorgeously lush. But somehow the characters never landed for me the way that they have in other books.  I didn't feel like I connected with them quite enough.

So, still excellent and beautifully written, but not my favorite of hers - and not where I would start people with her.
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I just couldn't get into this book. The characters did not draw me. I couldn't relate.
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McLemore again masterfully entwines magical realism with the vivid and enchanting story of the Nomeolvides women. Just as in When the Moon was Ours, she includes LGBTQIA characters faithfully and effortlessly, proving that love is love, and it is beautiful.
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I did not find this book engaging and found it very difficult to get past the first few chapters.
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Diverse, Magical, Mysterious  . This book was such a refreshing read. The story of the family was absolutely magical. And the bonds like sisterhood between the girls was amazing. The love story was rich and colorful! I highly recommend this diverse magical read. That will keep you guessing until the very end.
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I thought this story was so good! I couldn't put it down but forced myself to read it slowly to catch every detail. I preordered the book the moment I finished reading, I will definitely be reading this one again and will be suggesting to everyone
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Full review posted at: https://amongtheauthors.com/2017/07/17/off-the-shelf-a-review-of-wild-beauty-by-anna-marie-mclemore/

When I scroll through ARCs that are available to request, I often find myself getting into the bad habit of looking specifically for authors that I have already read. I like the familiar territory, especially if I really enjoyed a previous book by that author. The unfortunate part of that is that I often overlook some rather stunning reads because I didn’t give them a chance. I am so thankful that when it came to Wild Beauty, I didn’t pass it by. I’ve never read any of Anna-Marie McLemore’s books, which caused a brief hesitation, but there’s something about covers with whimsical silhouettes that tends to catch my eye. See how stunning the cover for Wild Beauty is? Take a look at the covers for some of her other work, such as The Weight of Feathers and When the Moon was Ours. They might say not to judge a book by its cover, but I believe that a beautiful cover can spark your curiosity. Without a doubt, Wild Beauty is certainly the kind of book that you are going to want to know more about.

RELEASE DATE: October 3, 2017
I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 
Summary (via Goodreads)
Love grows such strange things.

For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.

The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family.

Things I Liked:
I have a confession – I don’t know the first thing about flowers, other than how NOT to keep them alive. I don’t exactly have a green thumb, and to be honest, I’m shocked that the petunias and marigolds I planted at the beginning of summer haven’t shriveled up and died yet. Within the first few pages of Wild Beauty, you will realize that Anna-Marie McLemore takes flowers very seriously – this chick knows her stuff! Of course, my first reaction to this was Uh-Oh…I’m in trouble. If I can’t get a clear picture of what is happening, then I start to lose interest. Didn’t happen here though! The author’s writing is so rich in description even flowers that I’d never heard of were blooming in my mind. The gardens of La Pradera are the primary setting, and they provide a vivid landscape on which the lives of the Nomeolvides women depend.

Another plus to this book is its representation of diverse sexualities. It seems like the Young Adult genre has been especially lacking in regards to LGBT characters. Wait, that’s not entirely true…what I mean is that it has lacked LGBT characters who aren’t just stereotypes.  Or ones that only serve as a plot device and ultimately just end up getting killed off. Annoying, right? It’s also a real problem when you’ve got LGBT youth looking for representations of themselves in what they are reading, only to find themselves hidden in the background, never out front. Wild Beauty delivers a cast of characters which are mostly all bisexual. The five cousins are all bisexual, some of the mothers and grandmothers are bisexual, and there’s also a genderqueer character that quickly became one of my favorite characters of the entire book. If you’re looking for more of this kind of representation in YA, Wild Beauty is the book for you, and I applaud McLemore’s dedication to researching and providing accurate representations.

Wild Beauty is a mix of Latino folklore and magical realism, but the aspect I enjoyed most was how the threads of each family’s history were all braided together in the most unexpected ways. I found myself being more and more drawn to Fel and the mysteries behind his sudden appearance in the garden. As his past started to come to light, I felt my heart breaking for him. He considered himself undeserving of the kindness and affection he received from the Nomeolvides women, especially that of Estrella. I adored this pairing, from getting to see Estrella’s conflicting emotions towards Fel and another character, to just how much Fel truly adored her. I’m not normally one for a whole lot of romance, and the author isn’t very heavy handed with it in this regard, but I did find myself racing through the pages to see how this relationship would play out.

Things I Didn’t Like:

I’ve probably said it a million times before, but what really gets me hooked on any book are the characters. I need fully-formed, flesh and blood characters that simply feel REAL. Unfortunately, with such a large cast of characters (the five cousins, their five mothers, their five grandmothers, Fel, Bay and her family, and many others), characterization falls a little short. Sure, some of those characters are meant to hang in the background and not all of them really have a part to play in the story, and I get that. I had a pretty decent mental portrait of Estrella, Fel, and Bay (and I totally adored all three). What I found to be especially tough though was keeping all of the cousins straight in regards to their names and ages. Maybe it’s just me, but mostly they all just started to blur together in my mind, which could get pretty confusing at times.

Overall Rating:

If the characters (other than Estrella, Fel, and Bay) had been a little more distinguishable, this book would have been a home run for me. I’m giving it a 4/5, and might even go so far as a 4.5/5. I find myself still reflecting on this beautiful story even weeks after I have finished reading it. I look forward to its publication so that I can start getting it into the hands of other readers who I know will be just as drawn in by the magic of the Nomeolvides women. This book definitely has me considering picking up some of the author’s other books, and if I ever get a chance to review another Anna-Marie McLemore title, I won’t even hesitate!
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McLemore has crafted yet another perfect, visceral fairy tale.
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This book is astonishingly beautiful. I loved WHEN THE MOON WAS OURS and was a little nervous that this book would be a let-down. How could it possibly top it? Not that books have to be in competition, but when I love something from an author, my hopes are always in a tangle when I approach their next book. But I loved WILD BEAUTY so much more and in different ways than WTMWO. The writing is lush and gorgeous, the power of the magic realism, the depth of the character development, all of it is amazing. I will go with this author wherever she wants to lead me.
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What a lovely book! Such beautiful, lush writing, an intriguing premise, and an enchanting page-turner of a plot! I've also always liked how diverse McLemore makes her characters, and this book adds yet more representation for PoC and LGBT readers. (Also, I am so in love with the cover! I can't gush enough about it.)
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If there is one person who knows how to do magical realism, it's Anna-Marie McLemore.  Every single word she writes is, hands down, without a doubt, the most beautiful piece of writing I've ever read.  This was true in her first two novels, and her latest is no different.  That said, while it wouldn't be unheard of for authors to rely too heavily on one style of writing, what I adore about McLemore is that all of her novels are different and unique enough where instead of being bored by too much of a singular brand of magical realism, I honestly can't get enough.  That is due largely to her skill and her ability to not only maneuver through delicate subject matter, but do so in a way that is so ridiculously beautiful that you really don't ever want the stories to end.  When I closed this book, I wasn't quite ready to let go of Estrella and Fel and Bay and Dalia and all the rest but at the same time I was so satisfied with the ending that honestly I didn't know what to do with my conflicted feelings.  To me, this speaks volumes of the author's talent and I honestly can't wait for the what McLemore has in store for her readers in the future.  In addition to all of this, what I love about McLemore is her ability to make magical realism accessible to readers who may be reluctant to give it a try.  There really are so many ways it can go wrong, but when its done right - it really can be something special.  McLemore proves that every time.  Overall, I'm very much looking forward to October so I can get this into the hands of ALL the readers I know!
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